Confidence, social influence, and authenticity have long fascinated me.
Being genuine and authentic is really important, but get this, I think we can take it too far.
Did that get your attention?
Good! Let's talk about being authentic versus sharing too much.
What Is Authenticity?
Let’s start off with the dictionary definition of “authenticity:”
Adjective – of undisputed origin; “genuine.”
Hmmm . . . a little vague.
So I looked up “genuine,” which means, “Truly what something is said to be.”
This intrigues me.
When we feel authentic, what we say aligns with our truth. We aren’t lying or exaggerating. We aren’t trying to please anyone or avoid anything.
When others are determining whether we’re authentic, they are observing whether what we say aligns with their truth. They can’t actually know, but only guess at our authenticity.
Therefore, it’s much more HOW we express ourselves that dictates if people experience us authentically.
For instance, I have a friend who believes in the “fake it ‘til you make it” approach. People love her but she’s often only acting.
However, “fake it ‘til you make it” never worked for me, so I could never relate to people that way.
But I found another way that allows me to define authenticity more flexibly.
Interestingly, the root of the word “authenticity” is the same as the root of “author.”
To me, that means how we express ourselves is extremely flexible, because we are the author our own story. When I figured this out, it blew apart what “authentic” feels like to me.
I was now the “author” of whatever I said, and I controlled that. I didn’t have to be so rigid about what I revealed about myself.
The key is to express what’s true for you.
What people really want in conversation – and as they get to know you – is to feel your “realness.”
The Over Sharing Mistake
Clearly we need to speak from our truth, but it is possible to “over share,” thinking we need to reveal everything in a conversation.
This simply isn’t true. You don’t have to reveal everything down to the last detail. You risk giving TMI and boring the hell out of people.
Just share what is most present or important for you. When you do this, you can never go wrong.
This doesn’t mean you hide things, try to impress people, or create an impression that isn’t true. It just means be “judicious.”
To be authentic, you don’t need to say every thought, reveal every deep dark secret, and come out with every bad thing about yourself. Share too much good, and people think you are full of it. Share too much bad, and people think your life is falling apart or you’re just negative.
As long as you speak the essence of your truth, you always author its expression. You decide what you want to communicate and how.
Don’t create any false illusions about you or your truth, but you get to be the decider how much you reveal of yourself and to whom. Authentic people do this well.
Social Skills Coach and Founder of SocialExpression.NET
P.S. Do You Want to Be Authentic AND Social?
This is what I specialize in.
I personally went from being socially awkward and anxious to being very social myself.
My course Authentic Social Influence (ASI) is now underway for the fourth time, and it’s going to be the best run yet.
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There is still time to jump in and learn how to be authentic and social at the same time.
Yes, you can be authentic 100% of the time, but you get to be the decider of how you express it.
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